Raising Trouble: An Institute of Her Own

First of all, how cool is it that there is something called the Geena Davis Institute? From the blog "Reel Girl", we learn that Geena Davis, while watching TV and movies with her preschool-aged daughter in 2004, became incredibly indignant about the sexism of kid-targeted media, and set out to study -- and change -- the situation. Thus the Geena Davis Institute commissioned Stacy Smith of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California to do a massive study on the portrayal of male and female characters in entertainment media for kids under eleven -- the largest study of gender in kids' entertainment ever. That study's findings have just been released.

Unfortunately, Smith and her colleagues found, fewer than one in three speaking characters in G-rated films were female; more than four out five narrators were male; and 85% of characters were white.

The Geena Davis research team found that TV for kids under 11 also left something to be desired. Twice as many male characters as female in that data set, and females were four times likelier than males to be shown wearing sexy attire.

Not all the news is bad, though. Smith's in-depth analysis of female characters in G-rated movies uncovered a lot of annoying emphasis on female characters' appearances, but the researchers also found many of the female characters had cool aspirations, "heroic actions," and were presented in a "compelling light."

You can find the full report here:

by Liza Featherstone
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